Botswana Sector of Educators Trade Union (BOSETU) has cast doubt on the upcoming Primary School Leaving examination (PSLE), Junior Certificate Education (JCE) and Botswana Government Certificate on Secondary Education (BGSE) examination.
Addressing members of the press on Tuesday, BOSETU Secretary General Tobokani Rari said that there is a dire shortage of resources in schools, ranging from textbooks, the actual teaching space (classrooms), and technical rooms such as Science, D&T, Art & Home Economics specialized rooms.
“This owes mainly to the fact that schools that originated as, for instance, 12 streams, have now become 18 or even 22 stream schools. This expansion in student intakes has become disproportionate to the school structures and resources,” revealed Rari.
Rari who reiterated that as teachers they have the welfare of the students at heart but are been let down by the system added that another issue that will impact negatively on the performance of the students is the vacant substantive positions in schools across the country, both in Primary and Secondary schools, which are not being filled.
“These positions exist both at junior level in the teaching strata, and also at the level of positions of responsibility. This has not only impacted negatively in the delivery of instruction in schools owing to shortage of teachers, but it has as well resulted in qualified teachers being given exploitative short - term contracts. What is even more worrying is that the temporary teachers’ contracts only last for three (3) months, just a school term. It then takes a very long time to replace the temporary teacher, “ he lamented.
In worst case scenarios, according to BOSETU SG is that a temporary teacher would only come during the last two weeks of the term while students having going without a teacher. This he said deals a devastating blow to teaching and learning citing a case of Ledumang Primary School where there is severe shortage of teachers.
Another concern for the teacher union is the current phenomenon where politicians are using schools to campaign by donating shoes and uniforms during the working hours.
“What is even more worrying is that in doing so like in case of Motswedi Jss and Ledumang Primary schools, teaching and learning came to complete halt while parents are brought to school to witness as their children get the donations. This is uncalled for, its disruption of teaching time and turns schools into political playing grounds,” he cautioned.
Class sizes which has ballooned over the years but with resources not increased is another issue that will negatively affect the performance of the students, revealed Rari.
“This is an issue that will always affect the quality of education would result in very poor performances,” he said.
Another thorny issue is the course work and invigilation for the national examinations which has been dragging over the years which BOSETU said that they are worried at the pace in which the negotiations are going.
“We are a worried by the posture of the Ministry Executives on this matter. The public should be aware that in case the Ministry of Education becomes difficult and is no in position to resolve this matter on time, then, the union would appeal to its members to halt the supervision of course work and invigilating the 2018 examinations,” warned BOSETU Chief scribe.